Sunday, May 16, 2021

Former Massachusetts healthcare executive indicted in $100 million home health care fraud

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Two women purchased a Maserati as well as five properties in Westford, North Andover, Chelmsford and Dracut in connection with a $100 million home health care fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Faith Newton, 52 of Westford, and Winnie Waruru, 41 of Lowell, were arrested on Sunday and were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud – aiding and abetting and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.

Newton was also indicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy and seven counts of money laundering. Waruru was also indicted on two counts of making false statements and one count of making a false statement in a health care matter.

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Authorities claim that from January 2013 to January 2017, that duo used Arbor Homecare Services, which Newton was part owner and where Waruru was employed as a home health nurse, to defraud MassHealth and Medicare of at least $100 million. Newton then laundered the money, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims that Newton and others billed for home health services that were never provided, not medically necessary and that were not authorized.

Authorities also said Arbor Homecare Services used employment relationships to pay kickbacks for patient referrals. The U.S. Attorney’s office said they entered relationships with patients’ family members to provide services that were not medically necessary and routinely billed for fictitious visits that Newton knew did not occur.

Newton targeted particularly vulnerable patients who were low-income, on disability and/or suffering from depression and/or addiction, authorities said.

Waruru, authorities said, billed MassHealth for skilled nursing visits, many of which she did not perform. Waruru also passed cash payments from Newton to an Arbor patient to retain that patient.

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Newton, authorities said, used the laundered money to purchase multiple homes and a Maserati.

The government is seeking forfeiture of five properties in Westford, North Andover, Chelmsford and Dracut and to forfeit the contents of 40 bank accounts and/or investments.

The charges of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the money involved in the laundering.

The conspiracy to pay kickbacks, make false statements and make false statement in health care matter each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

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